'Pharmacists of Michigan' tells their stories to advocate for profession

Facebook page inspired by the Humans of New York website

Libin Philip, a fourth-year student pharmacist at Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, wanted to people to learn more about pharmacists in all practice settings. So the APhA member created the Facebook page “Pharmacists of Michigan.”

“‘Pharmacists of Michigan’ started off as a small project that was intended to highlight pharmacists in different practice settings, and use their stories to inspire and teach others about the expanding scope of pharmacy,” Philip told pharmacist.com. “The page has not only been able to feature pharmacists within different fields of pharmacy, but it has also featured various pharmacy students, technicians, and faculty members, all of whom are dedicated toward the advancement of the pharmacy profession.”

The page was inspired by the work of Brandon Stanton and his series Humans of New York, which posts photos and vignettes from ordinary New Yorkers as they go about their day. That website became a national sensation.

Philip’s project—which now has 1,000 followers and a weekly reach of almost 10,000 users—also has received appreciation from readers.

“They often say, ‘I had no idea pharmacists did that,’ or ‘Wow, pharmacy is much more than I thought it was.’ Overall, it seems to be showcasing the best of pharmacy and changing perceptions,” Philip said.

Amanda Lick, MPA, manager of advocacy, governmental and regulatory affairs at the Michigan Pharmacists Association, agreed. “Through storytelling and photos, the creators are crafting an image of pharmacy that is unlike anything the public has seen before,” she told pharmacist.com. “With the telling of each pharmacist’s experience, online readers are pulled away from the image of pharmacists as dispensers toward pharmacists as collaborators, innovators, and the medication experts that they are.”

Philip has hopes for the future of “Pharmacists of Michigan.” With the growth of the page, he has also partnered with James Shen, a third-year student pharmacist at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. Together, they have established a much greater vision for the project.

“As an organization, we are aware that APhA is dedicated to advocating for the profession and getting legislators involved within the whole process,” Shen said. “As legislators learn more about ‘who’ we are as pharmacists, ‘what’ we do on a daily basis, and ‘why’ we do what we do, we can hopefully instigate a change for the greater good of the profession.”